What are your rights under the FMLA?
Certain California workers are covered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. This law provides important protections to eligible employees who work for employers covered under the FMLA. Employees who are eligible to take leave under the FMLA might also be eligible for leave under the California Family Rights Act and to receive benefits under the California Paid Family Leave program. Here is some information about your rights under the FMLA and these other laws.
Rights under the FMLA
The FMLA provides job-protected, unpaid leave to eligible employees who work for covered employers. Employers that have 50 or more employees working within a 75-mile radius of each other are covered by the FMLA. Eligible employees include those who have worked for a covered employer for at least 12 months before the date of the leave and have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during that period. Eligible employees are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for their serious health conditions or the serious health conditions of their immediate family members. Employees can also take up to 12 weeks to bond with a new baby or foster child. FMLA leave also applies to exigencies related to an immediate family member’s impending active duty military service. Once an employee takes the Family and Medical Leave Act to leave, the employer must either return him or her to his or her former position or to a similar job with the same benefits and pay at the end of the leave period.
The CFRA and the Paid Family Leave Law
The CFRA also allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of paid or unpaid leave from work during a 12-month period. This leave can be taken to care for a new child, to care for the employee’s serious health condition, or to care for the serious health condition of an immediate family member. California’s Paid Family Leave program is a state-sponsored program paid through deductions from an eligible employee’s paychecks. Under this law, employees can receive up to eight weeks of pay and benefits when they are off from work because of a medical condition. However, leave under this law is not job-protected.
It is important to understand your rights under federal and California laws. Knowing the type of leave you might be eligible to take and what each law covers can help you determine how to make your leave request.